Vouchers and Cash Transfers

Picture credit: WHO/TDR/Andy Crump

Prospective users of health services in many countries face financial costs for transport and treatment and opportunity costs of receiving care, and such costs are well-documented barriers for the uptake of healthcare services. “Demand-side” financing in the health sector – such as voucher and cash transfers – was introduced to promote health by offsetting some associated financial costs or by increasing household income or providing financial incentives to increase healthy behaviours.

We have examined the design and effects of these policy initiatives to determine their role in creating and promoting healthcare markets, and the implications for equity. This research has been funded by AusAID and the World Health Organization Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health, and includes articles on the implementation of vouchers and cash transfers, and reviewing their effects. Together with Jasmine Gideon (Birkbeck), we published a critique and framework for gender analysis in the study of vouchers and public-private partnerships more widely (see blog here).